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Guest column by Zakya Hall | Restoring the Voting Rights Act

(04/22/15 3:56am)

On Aug. 6, 1965, then-President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, thereby helping to eliminate a century of voter intimidation and discriminatory tactics, such as poll taxes and literacy tests. After a hard-fought battle in which civil rights activists bled and died, the right to vote became a reality for black Americans. The impact of this law cannot be overstated. Within four years of its passage, voter registration in the South doubled. This transformative legislation not only upended discriminatory practices, but also required jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination in voting to receive “preclearance” from the federal government before enacting any proposed changes to voting procedures. But on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, the right to vote is still under attack in this country.